"For Water or Blood"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Up around Portland, Oregon, a man is judged by the size of his beard. So, too, are the bands from that is apparently against the law to be in a heavy band and not have most of the members sporting vast amounts of facial hair. One member is always given a pass, possibly as a "token" shaved face. Diesto fit very well into this legacy of lumberjack rockers.

"For Water or Blood" is their fifth album, but it's the first to cross my path. Also keeping with beard rock tradition, the band plays sludge metal with a rustic feel. Yes, there are many, many bands of this ilk walking the North Woods, but Diesto is a bit more melodic and pleasant than most. Although the tunes are full of burly heft and manly crunch, there's not a feeling of overwhelming hatred and anger to their music. There's room for melody and an easy going flow. Opening cut "Trails of the Sun" is a fine example of where Diesto's head is at...this song surges along like a river, with a powerful flow but a smooth surface. The vocals are rough but not brutally harsh. The metallic crunch and anger pick up on "Edge of the World" and from there the band continues with medium-sized tunes full of muscular sludge that doesn't push into hateful realms. It's good music to cut down giant trees to!

Absolutely nothing is done here that hasn't been done before and I think Diesto kind of petered out on their last two tracks "Dirty River" and "Arrows", but this is a nice thick album to listen to, one that really does feel like the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. I think folks with and without beards can enjoy it.